The number of students accessing e-mail and the Internet through KU's computer network continues to grow.
Kansas University's Computer Center, the hub of its information superhighway, is bringing the electronic world to an increasing number of new students.
"Students really aren't limited to the local campus anymore" for research and information sources, said Wes Hubert, assistant director of academic computing services.
The information superhighway "has created new opportunities in accessing information that people would not have otherwise," he said.
The Computer Center, located west of Illinois Street on Sunnyside Avenue, houses computer equipment that allows students and faculty to use e-mail and the Internet.
In the last three years, the number of students using accounts for access to the Internet has risen dramatically -- from about 1,000 in 1993 to 14,000 this year, Hubert said.
Although exact figures weren't available, he said the KU network probably receives "easily thousands" of hits, or users, per day.
Student accounts are free when used at various KU facilities.
A $30 fee is assessed for students who sign up for an account used from their homes.
The account gives students full access to e-mail and the Internet.
"Use of the network has been increasing steadily ever since we first connected," he said.
KU bought new equipment for the network in 1990 and again in 1993.
"We've had a couple of major upgrades since then," Hubert said. "We've had to continually add on access power."
"Falcon" is the name of the system where the accounts are kept, he said.
This summer, KU added a new system, called Eagle, which will provide similar services.
If you're new to the Internet or e-mail, Hubert recommends that you enroll in one of many classes offered at the center.
"Coming to some of the workshops we teach at the beginning of the semester would be a good way to come up to speed quickly without having to spend a lot of time," he said.
In the one-time classes, which run from one to three hours depending on subject matter, students "will be able to get the information that they will be able to apply immediately in how to use the network," he said.
The center has about 50 computers that students can use. Other computers are located in Watson Library, Strong Hall and other academic buildings.
The rooms of Ellsworth and McCollum residence halls also have been wired for access to the network, he said. This summer, rooms in all scholarship halls also should be wired.
"It's part of an ongoing process," Hubert said.
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway has made wiring the campus and providing student access to computers a major goal in the next few years.
This spring, the newest major computer lab is scheduled to open in Budig Hall. That facility should have about 150 computers for students, Hubert said.